IT’S time to do Time Warp again!

Tens of thousands of electronic music fans will be doing the annual pilgrimage to Mannheim in Germany on Friday, April 5th and Saturday, April 6th to celebrate the incredible milestone, 30 year anniversary of Europe’s finest electronic music festival, Time Warp.

Starting in 1994, Time Warp quickly became the go to event for house and techno fans from across the continent and now attracts dance music fans from across the world with the addition to the annual event in Time Warp’s spiritual home in Mannheim, the party has expanded globally over recent years with Time Warp events rocking Brazil, Chile, Spain, USA, Argentina and Netherlands.

Time Warp is not only a highlight in the calendar of many electronic music fans but also for the DJs performing there. Heavyweights like Sven Väth, Richie Hawtin and Laurent Garnier have performed there almost every year since the very first party 30 years ago.

It’s amazing to note that Time Warp was an element in the decision to recognise Mannheim as a UNESCO City of Music. The UNESCO Creative Cities Network comprise of cities that have identified creativity and music as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.

Time Warp UK? Now that would be amazing!

Robin Ebinger, Steffen Charles and Frank Eichhorn from Cosmopop, Time Warp, Love Family Park and Sonus Festival

Cosmopop are the team behind the legendary Time Warp. They are also the masterminds behind Time Warp’s summer bash, Love Family Park and the amazing Sonus Festival in Croatia. We caught up with Cosmopop’s Managing Director Steffen Charles, Head of Marketing Robin Ebinger and Head of Production Frank Eichhorn to find out a bit more about reaching the milestone and what’s in store for what is set to be an unforgettable weekend in Mannheim on April 5th and 6th.

For more information and for tickets to Time Warp HEAD HERE.

You will be celebrating 30 years of Time Warp in April. Could you have imagined from the first Time Warp party the sheer scale of the event 30 years later?

STEFFEN: On this one a very short answer: No. Of course, we lost money with the first edition, so during the first weeks we did not even think about a second edition.

Time Warp… Picture: Antonio Corallo

Organizing large-scale music festivals involves numerous challenges. Could you share some of the most significant hurdles you’ve faced and how you overcame them?

FRANK: The biggest hurdle in our history was for sure the pandemic. We were the first large-scale event that got canceled in 2020 and we were so keen on finally coming back in April 2022 – but the rules and regulations were still vague when we had to take the final decision and we simply could not take the risk. So our scene re-opened in spring 2022, but without us – Time Warp April edition finally made its return in 2023. So we were the first ones who were forced to cancel and the last ones to make our return.

Apart from that, each edition brought its own obstacles, but with the joint forces of our internal team and our partners so far we have managed to always open on time and to present the show and dance floor vibes we developed and were striving for.

Click or tap the image to see the artwork from every single Time Warp from the last 30 years[/caption]

Time Warp is the perfect marriage between music and technology creating anunforgettable experience. Was technology at the forefront of those early parties as it is now? How do you continue to push the boundaries of technology year on year?

STEFFEN: From the beginning, it was always about creating a whole experience for our guests. Sound was and still is the most important thing but even at the first edition of Time Warp we had elaborate decoration elements – we just wanted to create a very unique atmosphere. Over the years we continued working on this concept and have elaborated further on the idea of a synergy of sound and light – back then it was more decoration than technology of course.

From 2001, 2002 on, event technology made a massive leap forward. Modern computer programs made it possible to plan whole shows and floor designs in advance in front of the screen. Our production and creative team grew with this amazing progress of technology. Everyone on the team gives their best for each edition and we are always on the lookout for new ideas and inspiration, bringing in designers and creative minds from all over the world. It really helps that Time Warp Mannheim found its home in 2000 – after many editions at Maimarkthalle, we know every corner of the venue.

Time Warp… Picture: Elephant Studio

FRANK: There are more and more options and technical possibilities thanks to new gear and software – this is a big chance to always come up with new, unseen creative approaches but these opportunnities also bear the risk that promoters use them too much and distract from the music. With some shows I get the feeling that it is more like going to the movies with some soundtrack underlying the visuals or the fireworks.

With the 30th anniversary of Time Warp on the horizon, what special preparations or surprises can attendees anticipate for this milestone celebration?

FRANK: We have a different approach to that. For us the music and the DJ performances are always in focus and all light, video, sfx, lasers need to follow and revolve around underlining the sound.

Our team developed stunning floor designs and some surprises that our fans can explore on site in the Maimarkt Mannheim – so look around not to miss them during our 30-hour rave.

But they are still top secret.

And we will present the world of Time Warp to the city by showcasing a public galery with iconic pictures of our technical production in the Mannheim city centre.

Time Warp brings a huge amount of attention and tourism to Mannheim every year with the obvious benefits to the local economy. How does the city and authorities support the event? You must have to work closely with them? Do they recognise the cultural importance of Time Warp?

ROBIN: We have a close working relationship with all authorities in different departments and levels. Of course there still are people who are happy when the show is over.  The vast majority however, really supports Time Warp. We have a strong support from the Mannheim Cultural Scene and the Mayor with his team is supporting us a lot. In short words, they recognise Time Warps cultural impact.

In 2014, Mannheim was awarded UNESCO City of Music. When Mannheim applied for this program and the title, Time Warp was one of the key elements as we are the most international event in the entire region. The UNESCO Creative Cities Network comprises cities that have identified creativity and music as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development.

You also mentioned the economic factor. During the Time Warp weekend it is impossible to get a hotel room anywhere close to Mannheim and, as far as we have heard from the taxi companies, is the most busiest night and day of the year.

Can you tell us how you approach the line ups each year?

STEFFEN: Our artist selection reflects our philosophy of presenting international techno headlining DJs and live acts amongst local talent and hotshots. We have selected them for their musical excellence and dynamic shows.

Click or tap the image to listen to Sven Väth’s mix recorded live at Time Warp, Mannheim Germany on March 2nd 2016

You have close relationships with global techno icons such as Carl Cox Sven Väth, Laurent Garnier and Richie Hawtin? How important have these guys been to Time Warp over the years? When we have spoken to many of these artists in the past they have told us Time Warp is one of their favourite events to play.

STEFFEN: Some of these artists have been there from year one and have continued to support us ever since. We have been working together for 30 years and became friends as well. All of them are trailblazers in their field and have brought a substantial input for the history and development of techno. We try to deliver the perfect set up and working environment for all our artists, and I think that passion helps them to deliver their best. We want to create a place where everybody feels at home and welcomed.

Beside the artists you mentioned, we treat all of the artists working for us the same way. On top of this we always aim for the best result for our guests. All that together is our formula for a good event, and I think that’s the reason why artist like Time Warp.

Some people might not know this but I understand you had David Guetta play one year? Was he playing techno back then?

ROBIN: Yes – it was back in 2006 when David Guetta played Time Warp. He played pure house music and really rocked the place. His performance was during a time before he really became commercially famous. House Music has always been a part of Time Warp, from year 1.

You guys are responsible for numerous other great events like Love Family Park and the Sonus Festival in Croatia. Would it be fair to say that the spirit and DNA of Time Warp flows through these events?

ROBIN: I believe what sets us apart from other festivals is our DNA: We come from the dancefloor, we have been ravers, we started to do the shows and we still love music and to go out. We do everything from the heart and we have close connection to the scene and to the artists, especially Steffen, one of my partners. Also it is passion – we love what we do and this make the big difference, I think. This gives you authenticity which the fans and artist alike can feel.

What advice do you have for someone that has never been to Time Warp before?

ROBIN: Be there early and do the full journey. My advice is to let yourself go with the flow, don’t stick to a fixed time table and run from one floor to the other. Allow yourself to listen to artists who wouldn’t be your first choice. And be ready to experience the unexpected. Apart from that, I’ll repeat what everybody says: You have to be there to feel it. So enjoy Time Warp.

Time Warp takes place on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th April in Mannheim, Germany. For more information head here